>The cloud is a sideshow. It's an effect of the smartphone, not the cause.
Nope. They are unrelated phenomena.
'Cloud' is the result of cheap and fast Internet connections. Our small startup biotech can easily rent hundreds of nodes on Amazon EC2, paying only for the required time. We can process data from our clients as fast as we need, without paying millions for our cluster which will be mostly idle.
This is new. There was nothing comparable earlier in the history of computing. Yes, there was sharing of CPU resources earlier, but it always required a lot of work to setup and had large administrative overhead. Now you only need to have a credit card and Internet connection and you can start your own cluster in minutes without any interactions with other humans.
Hell, Amazon even has a spot market for CPU time! We're actually using software initially designed to predict asset prices to minimize our cost. We actually have something close to a global CPU market - the Sci-Fi future is here.